does any one out there come across problems with african skins (even commercial tan) that just dont relax and lay on the form properly? what do you do? about 5% of our skins do it.
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I would say we have about 5% of our skins do this also. I think it has to do with skin preparation in Africa and the length of time before they are tanned. I do a variety of things. I relax the skins in water with a little salt added and a squirt of dawn soap to break the surface tension of the water. I sweat the skins overnight then freeze for a few days. This seems to break the skin somewhat, I will even do this on good skins.
Spend some extra time with the form to make sure it fits, don't fight the skin to get it to fit the form.
Use a good hide paste but not to much because you will use a fiberglass lay up roller to help smooth the skin down. Dry the skin slowly over a few days keeping plastic over the mount. Work the skin every day "cutting" the wrinkles in half, using a prob and the roller. It also helps to make a wooden spatula, and use this to smooth those stubborn wrinkles. A last resort is to take the partially dried mount to a sink, and wet with scalding hot water. When leather is treated like this it will shrink helping to smooth things over. However, this water treatment will cause some drumming.
Good luck because I feel your pain!
Yes, I know there are those out there who are going to say African animals are supposed to have fine wrinkles and such, and to study your reference but some of this skins are very difficult to work.
also. Olympic Taxidermy in the Seattle area.